ST. PAUL (AP) -- Rain in the forecast this weekend could slow the drop of Minnesota's swollen rivers, but officials said Friday they didn't expect enough precipitation to make a major difference.
While emergency officials had said Thursday they feared that as much as 4 inches of rain could fall around Lake Traverse near the North Dakota border in western Minnesota, meteorologists said Friday that prospect now seemed unlikely.
"It doesn't look like there's going to be 4 inches in western Minnesota," said Matt Davis of the weather service office in Chanhassen. "At this point, the southern half of the state should pick up a swath of a half inch to maybe 2 inches, especially from the Twin Cities southward" through the weekend.
Dave Soroka of the weather service office in Grand Forks, N.D., agreed. He said the worst-case scenario for western Minnesota and eastern North Dakota appeared to be just over an inch of rain.
But he said a half inch to three-quarters of an inch Friday night and Saturday, with another quarter to half inch from Sunday night into Monday, seemed more likely.
"Yes!" said Kevin Smith, spokesman for the Minnesota Department of Public Safety when he heard the latest forecasts. "If the rain is truly not going to be that dramatic, the rain shouldn't have any impact at all on the rivers."
While it's unlikely that the Minnesota or Minnesota rivers will rise if Friday's forecasts hold, the rain could slow their fall or keep them steady in some locations, the weather service said it its daily flood statement.
The continued high water will keep up the strain on the dikes that are holding the water at bay throughout the state.
"It's kind of an unknown at this point in time because we've never experienced this long period of high river levels," said Al Bataglia, St. Paul's director of emergency management. "So we're playing the waiting game. These levees are being tested with this flood. The (Mississippi) river is still very dangerous."
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